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+ servings
Serving bowl with pesto orzo salad and a small bowl with pasta salad and lemon slices behind

Vegan Pesto Orzo Salad

Chloe from Forkful of Plants
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course, Pasta, Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4
Orzo is tossed in a fresh and aromatic easy homemade basil pesto, and paired with juicy cherry tomatoes, salty olives and punchy arugula to make this vegan pesto orzo salad. It’s totally delicious, completely plant based, and ready in less than 15 minutes!


  • 250 g dried orzo 1¼ cups

For the homemade pesto

  • 80 g mixed seeds* ½ cup
  • 45 g basil ~1 cup, lightly packed
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the pasta salad

  • 1 batch homemade pesto or 180g/¾ cup store-bought
  • 100 g dairy free yoghurt heaping ⅓ cup
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes, halved around 20
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 50 g black olives, halved ⅓ cup
  • 30 g arugula (rocket) 1½ loosely packed cups


  • Firstly, put the orzo on to cook. Fill a saucepan with water and a big pinch of salt, then bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes until it’s just al dente.
  • Meanwhile, make the vegan pesto. Toast the seeds over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes in a dry pan. They will start to smell toasty and lightly crackle when ready.
  • Add the basil, olive oil, toasted seeds, garlic, lemon juice and salt to a blender**, then blend on high until it’s mostly smooth.
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain it through a colander and rinse with cold running water.
  • Add the orzo to a mixing bowl with the pesto, yoghurt, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olives and rocket. Mix everything together really well.
  • To serve, you can top the salad with some toasted seeds for a little extra crunch and flavour.


*You can use a mix of seeds or just your favourite seed. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds work best in this pesto, and can be complimented with linseeds or sesame seeds. You can throw in some pine nuts if you don't need to keep it nut free.
**You can use a full sized blender, bullet blender, or stick blender for this. I really like to use the personal blender attachment from my Ninja 3-in-1, as it just makes less washing up than the full blender attachment.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!